Volkswagen returns to its roots: fun, affordable, German engineering
BOSTON – Sporting timeless design, a relatively low price, a Germanic fun-to-drive nature coupled with a smooth ride quality, and a luxurious interior, the 1998 Passat saved Volkswagen’s bacon just as the company was considering a retreat from the American market. Continual improvements over the next eight years helped to ensure its appeal, with a roomy station wagon model, better control layout and design, more glitz on the outside, a 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, and even an ill-fated eight-cylinder luxury model debuting after the initial launch. This Passat is the car that set the tone for VW’s success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, gave Volkswagen’s “Driver’s Wanted” advertising tagline credibility, and previewed a product renaissance that led to record-breaking sales in America.
Unfortunately, in the eight years since that revolutionary Passat first went on sale, Volkswagen has been chasing delusions of grandeur, vainly trying to execute plans for head-to-head competition against Mercedes-Benz. Any grade-schooler examining the sales results of this effort could conclude that the futile repositioning of Volkswagen as a luxury brand has not panned out as planned, since “luxury” to American customers is more about the badge on the front than the engineering underneath or feature count inside. A big, chrome “VW” on the grille reminds most people of Beetles, old or New, and does little to inspire envy in insecure neighbors or colleagues.
Mercifully for VW, change is in the air. Don’t tell the marketing gurus responsible for cultivating an upscale image for the Phaeton sedan and Touareg SUV, but Ken Davis, the product manager for the redesigned 2006 Volkswagen Passat, stated what critics and customers already knew when he announced to journalists: “We are not a luxury make.” Instead, said Dave Wicks, director of sales for Volkswagen of America, VW strives to provide “affordable German engineering, distinctive European styling, (and a) fun-to-drive (character).”
Whew. Finally, Volkswagen gets it. Let Audi be the Volkswagen Group’s mainstream luxury channel, free to chase BMW and Mercedes-Benz, while VW concentrates on being what it always has been: The people’s car. After a day spent driving the new 2006 Volkswagen Passat, we’d guess plenty of people will find this to be the perfect sedan or wagon. And the best thing is, if you want affordable German engineering, you can have it for less than the cost of the average car sold today. Or, if a luxury car is more your taste, you can have that too by adding every available option to a new Passat. Indeed, the 2006 Volkswagen Passat legitimately serves either customer, and in combination with a slew of new cars scheduled to arrive in VW showrooms during the course of the next year, the new Passat is certain to help lead the company’s next product renaissance.
Model Mix Our pick is the 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T Value Edition, which comes with everything you need. Just swap out those K-Mart wheels for some nice 18-inch rims with low-profile rubber, and you’re out the door for less than $25,000.
Volkswagen will ultimately sell the redesigned 2006 Passat in four different flavors available on both sedan and station wagon body styles, but initially only the 2.0T Value Edition and 2.0T sedan are rolling into showrooms. The Passat 3.6L arrives in October of 2005, followed by the 3.6L 4Motion all-wheel-drive sedan just in time for winter snowstorms, and finally the wagon in February of 2006.
With a starting price of $22,950 plus a $615 destination charge, the 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T Value Edition lives up to its name. Standard features include air conditioning, power windows with one-touch operation for the front glass, power door locks with remote entry, power heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, cruise control, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and an eight-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player. But the Passat 2.0T Value Edition gets even better. It also comes with floor mats, a trip computer, leatherette upholstery, a 60/40 split folding rear seat with a pass through, and a center console bin with cooling capability.
Loaded with safety gear, the Passat 2.0T Value Edition includes a tire pressure monitor, ABS with brake assist and brake drying, stability control, eight airbags including front and rear side curtains and front side-impact restraints, and crash-active head restraints. A full-size spare tire is tucked into the trunk, while the Value Edition’s cabin is spruced up with fake metallic trim bits and manually adjustable front comfort seats with height adjustment and lumbar support for the driver and front passenger. An immobilizing theft deterrent system and a self-draining umbrella storage slot in the door panel round out the list of impressive standard features on the 2.0T Value Edition.
Rear side airbags ($350) and a Tiptronic automatic ($1,075) are the only options for the Value Edition. If we were in the market for a new 2006 Volkswagen Passat, this is the one we’d buy, and immediately dump the 16-inch steel wheels with their plastic wheel covers and 215/55 all-season tires for a nice set of rims and rubber. Clearly, the Passat 2.0T Value Edition represents the best value.
But, if you want to move up to the $23,900 (plus destination) Passat 2.0T to gain access to luxury features, you’ll be rewarded with 16-inch alloy wheels with wheel locks, chrome accents on the side window frames, rear reading lights, ambient lighting for the interior, and power recline and lumbar functions for the front seats as part of the starting price.
The 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T’s options are bundled into packages. Package 1 ($1,625) includes premium sound with a six-disc in-dash CD changer and satellite radio (XM or Sirius), and a power sunroof. The Luxury Package ($2,825) has that stuff plus leather seats, 10-way power and heated front seats, a multi-function steering wheel, and a leather shift knob. If you want to skip the packages and just add heated front seats, you can with the Cold Weather Package ($225). A 600-watt Dynaudio stereo system ($1,000), 17-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 all-season tires ($400), a DVD navigation system ($1,800), and rear side airbags ($350) are stand-alone options. The Tiptronic automatic adds $1,075. Load the Passat 2.0T up with all the goodies, and you’re spending more than $32,000.
For that coin, you could upgrade to the Passat 3.6L for $29,950 plus the $615 destination charge. The Passat 3.6L adds chrome grille slats, 17-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 all-season tires, a premium sound system with a six-disc in-dash CD changer, and an in-glass radio antenna to the 2.0T’s standard equipment list. Plus, there’s a standard Tiptronic automatic transmission, and a 3.6-liter V6 with more power and torque than the standard turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine.
As with the Passat 2.0T, options for the Passat 3.6L are mainly grouped into packages. Luxury Package 1 ($2,750) includes leather comfort seats with 12-way power front adjustment and three-position memory for the driver’s seat and mirrors, walnut wood trim on dash and shifter, a multi-function steering wheel, automatic headlights, fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, heated washer nozzles, Climatronic dual-zone automatic climate control, a Homelink universal transmitter, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, manual rear side window shades, and a trunk storage net. The Sport Package 1 ($3,050) includes the same stuff, but replaces the comfort seats with better bolstered sport seats, kills the wood trim in favor of a leather shift knob and aluminum dash trim, adds a three-spoke sport steering wheel with shift buttons, and adds a sport suspension.
Take either of these packages to the next level with bi-Xenon headlights with an Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS), headlight washers, the 600-watt Dynaudio sound system, and park distance control – cost is $5,250 for Luxury and $5,550 for Sport. Stand-alone options for the Passat 3.6L include 18-inch alloys with 235/40 tires ($400), the Dynaudio stereo ($1,000), a DVD navigation system ($1,800), the bi-xenons with AFS and washers ($950), and rear side airbags ($350).
A loaded 2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6L runs more than $40,000, and adding a 4Motion all-wheel-drive system will bump the price another $1,950. That Value Edition model is looking pretty good, eh?
Nuts and Bolts
Nuts and Bolts Paying $7,000 extra for the 2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6L’s V6 gets you an automatic transmission, a slight bump in acceleration, and worse fuel economy. Too bad the optional 4Motion all-wheel-drive is only offered on the 3.6L.
Choose between two engines to power your Passat, but you’ll pay a steep $7,000 premium for the more powerful V6 engine, and get worse fuel economy to boot. And if you’re wondering when you’ll be able to buy a Passat TDI with a fuel-thrifty turbodiesel engine, the answer from Volkswagen is not until 2008 at the earliest, and that’s contingent on whether the car will pass increasingly stringent emissions regulations.
For now, the standard engine on the 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T Value Edition and 2.0T is a two-liter, direct fuel injection, turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder motor that makes 200 horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 207 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm running on premium unleaded. That’s 30 more horsepower and 40 more lb.-ft. of torque than last year’s 1.8T powerplant. The 2.0T engine, rated to get 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway when teamed to the optional six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, features a broad torque curve to ensure speedy acceleration from a standstill and quick response from mid-range speeds. Volkswagen says the motor is good for 0-60 mph acceleration of 6.9 seconds with the standard five-speed manual and 7.4 seconds with the Tiptronic automatic, and don’t forget that in areas well above sea level, such as Denver, turbos best normally-aspirated motors when it comes to performance because they are unaffected by altitude. Both transmissions drive the Passat’s front wheels.
Step up to the 2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6L, and you get a 3.6-liter narrow-angle V6 engine with variable valve timing. Running on premium fuel for optimum performance, the Passat 3.6L makes 280 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 265 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,750 rpm. The only transmission choice is the six-speed Tiptronic automatic, driving the front or all four-wheels. VW says the 3.6L will dash from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, and that the 3.6L 4Motion model will make the same run in 6.2 seconds, despite a 250-pound weight gain. This year, the Passat’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is available only on the 3.6L model, sensing when the front wheels slip and then sending power to the rear wheels as needed. EPA fuel economy estimates for the Passat 3.6L were not available when this story was published, but we averaged 23.4 mpg in mostly highway driving.
The 2006 Volkswagen Passat rides on MacPherson struts up and a new four-link suspension in the rear, tied down with telescopic shock absorbers and stabilizer bars at both ends. With the new rear suspension, the axle is acoustically decoupled from the body for less noise, vibration, and harshness. Passat Value Editions and 2.0Ts are connected to the road through skinny little 215/55R16 tires. Optional on the 2.0T and standard on the 3.6L are 235/45R17 all-season treads, with 235/40 rubber offered exclusively on the 3.6L. No matter which wheel and tire combo you choose, a full-size spare is standard. A sport suspension with a 15mm lower ride height, stiffer spring rates, and tauter damping characteristics is optional on the Passat 3.6L.
An electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion steering system guides the front wheels, featuring a slick return-to-center function and the ability to help stabilize the Passat in stiff crosswinds. Volkswagen says that the steering’s electro-mechanical design minimizes road vibration and allows for the addition of future active steering technology like lane departure correction. At each wheel, disc brakes bring the Passat to a stop. With vented front rotors and solid rear discs, this system includes ABS, brake assist, and a brake wiping feature that cannot be felt by the driver but that regularly dries the brake pads for improved stopping power in the wet. The 2006 Volkswagen Passat’s parking brake is electronic this year, set with the push of a button, and lets VW add a slick Auto-Hold feature that keeps the Passat stopped until the accelerator is depressed – even when sitting on a hill. The new Passat also comes with stability control as standard equipment.
Design We think the new face of VW resembles the new face of Audi, but with giant shiny mirror affixed to the front and ready to reflect Ka-band radar right back at Johnny Law.
Volkswagen says the redesigned 2006 Passat “is characterized with an almost avant-garde potency and class – one that is clearly muscular, but in a purposeful, sinewy way that commands respect but in no way demands it.”
We’re not as thrilled with the new Passat’s styling as VW’s lyrical press release writers, finding it less balanced than the classic proportions of the 1998-2005 model. Length and width are each increased by three inches, but the track is wider by just 1.5 inches and the wheelbase is less than a half-inch longer. Plus, the new Passat is taller by nearly half an inch. The result is a look with long front and rear overhangs, a car that appears perched on wheels two sizes too small. In a world where placing the wheels at the corners defines modern, attractive design, the 2006 Volkswagen Passat seems like a throwback.
Volkswagen says the new face of VW features a strong V-shape to recall the company’s heritage, with plenty of chrome trim designed to “evoke a coat of arms” that serves as a shield to offer protection and strength. Headlamp design intends to “present a challenging stare. Its eyes…willingly challenge the road ahead, staring it down with the focus of a highly prepared athlete anxious for competition.” We think the new face of VW resembles the new face of Audi, but with a giant shiny mirror affixed to the front and ready to reflect Ka-band radar right back at Johnny Law. At the rear, we can see how some people might ultimately confuse the new Passat with the 2006 Buick Lucerne, which has a similar design right down to the large, circular logo mounted on the trunk lid between the taillights. But the Passat has fast-illuminating LED lights in back, and when the turn signal is activated a red ring around the brake light flashes to sophisticated effect.
In addition to an overall look that recalls Audi, there are additional benefits to the new 2006 Volkswagen Passat’s design. The body boasts 57-percent greater torsional stiffness which leads to improvements in ride, handling, and cabin isolation. High-strength steel is used throughout to create a strong, crashworthy structure that VW claims will produce terrific safety scores when the Passat is crash-tested by the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And there’s about 2.5 inches of added rear legroom, which is always nice.
The fact that anyone familiar with an Audi will find much to like about the 2006 Volkswagen Passat’s interior is nice, too. Particularly on the 3.6L version, the new Passat exudes the quality materials and upscale ambience that the Volkswagen Group’s luxury brand has espoused for decades. The mesh headliner, the chrome accents, the plastic pieces with a rubbery coating, and the matte-finish décor all come straight from the luxury car rulebook. But it’s not all good. The overhead storage compartment’s lid is glossy and feels cheap, the shifter release button is a little sticky, and the seat height adjustment lever is slippery to the fingertips.
Buy the Luxury or Sport Package upgrade and you’ll get genuine walnut or real aluminum trim on the dash, and leather seats that look and feel terrific. Control layout and design is excellent, though the optional navigation system’s interface is more confusing than a Lexus or Toyota touch screen. However, if you take the time to acclimate to its operation, it’s rather easy to manage the multiple menus, and Volkswagen does provide handy volume and tuning knobs in addition to auxiliary controls on the multi-function steering wheel. Volkswagen also includes our favorite sunroof control design, using handy twist knob to slide the tinted glass panel open or closed.
Safety and Technology
Safety and Technology You name it, and the 2006 Volkswagen Passat seems to have an airbag for it. You can even get ‘em for the rear seat, which is unusual in this class. Plus, stability control, brake assist, a brake drying feature, and tire pressure monitors are all standard.
If the crash-test results of the 2006 Volkswagen Passat’s little brother, the Jetta, are any indication, this should prove to be one safe midsize sedan. Equipped with standard dual front, front side-impact, and individual side-curtain airbags for the front and rear passengers, VW is making sure every Passat offers equal levels of passenger protection. Side-impact airbags for the rear seat are a $350 option, and they aren’t standard because people who carry small children in back might not wish to have them in the car.
In addition to multiple airbags, every 2006 Volkswagen Passat includes crash-active front head restraints that help reduce whiplash in rear-impact collisions, crash-optimized foot pedals that descend in a front crash to save leg and foot injuries, and three-point seatbelts with automatic locking retractors at all five seating positions – the fronts include pre-tensioners, too. Daytime running lights are also standard, along with a tire pressure monitoring system that includes sensors for each individual wheel. Volkswagen even placed the ignition slot on the dashboard rather than the steering column to reduce knee injuries in collisions.
Brake system enhancements include an Auto-Hold feature that will keep the Passat stopped until the driver steps on the accelerator, even when sitting on a hill. Another safety feature on the new Passat is an optional bi-xenon headlight system with an Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) that turns the headlights up to 35 degrees in the direction you’re steering to help see around corners. LED taillights illuminate faster, and fade rather than completely burn out. The optional park assist system features sensors front and rear, helpful for parking but also for identifying when an unseen object, like a child, is in the Passat’s path.
Of course, the 2006 Volkswagen Passat is offered with an automatic dual-zone climate control system, dubbed Climatronic, as well as a DVD navigation system. But the Dynaudio sound system is the technology piece worth mentioning. Dynaudio is a Danish loudspeaker company that has been making premium audio components for nearly 30 years, and distinguishes itself by designing, developing, and building every component of every speaker in-house. Volkswagen engineers chose Dynaudio for its “maniacal dedication to true sound.” Specifically designed for the 2006 Volkswagen Passat, this $1,000 optional system features 600 watts of continuouspower and 10 loudspeakers, and is offered only on every model except the Value Edition. Based on our admittedly undiscerning ears, the Dynaudio system is worth $1,000. It sounds terrific, able to reproduce everything from Beethoven to Biggie in crystal clear sound, even at eardrum-splitting volume levels.
For now, features like adaptive cruise control and Bluetooth wireless communications are reserved for Europe, but the latter is expected in U.S.-spec Passats by the 2007 model year.
Comfort and Convenience
Comfort and Convenience With more rear seat leg room, additional interior storage capacity, and extremely comfortable power adjustable front seats, the 2006 Volkswagen Passat is more comfortable and convenient than ever.
Given the 2006 Volkswagen Passat’s dual role as mainstream family sedan and entry-level luxury car, it’s no surprise that designers and engineers spent extra time making sure that occupant comfort and convenience were key development targets. Areas of particular improvement over the outgoing model were rear seat leg room, interior storage spots, and small touches like side and rear window shades and sun sensors to help the particulate-filtered climate control system work more effectively.
In terms of comfort, both front and rear seat riders benefit from the 2006 Volkswagen Passat redesign. In back, leg room is greater by nearly 2.5 inches, and some models get manual shades for the side glass and rear window. That’s good news for young families, because there’s more space for child seats and less sunshine to hurt sensitive eyes. Rear vents that distribute air conditioning and heat are also new for 2006, and the rear seat is a 60/40 split folding design with a center pass-through for maximum cargo flexibility.
For adults, rear comfort is a mixed bag. The added leg room is terrific, but the bottom cushion is mounted too low to provide adequate thigh support. Nevertheless, four adults each measuring six-feet-tall will find decent, if not plentiful, accommodations with good foot room under the front seats. A center fold-down armrest is nice, and features a handy storage compartment.
Front seat comfort varies depending on the model you choose. In the 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T, the driver’s seat lacks tilt adjustment for the bottom cushion, so thigh support is not what it could be. And if you order the optional perforated leather, you might be disappointed in the quality. Before we knew our test car had the option package that included leather we wrote this in our notebook: “Standard leatherette upholstery is perforated, but wouldn’t pass for leather.” Why? Because it’s dry and stiff and not very luxurious. On a positive note, the Passat’s upper door panels are padded and shaped for resting an elbow during long cruises, the center armrest is height adjustable, and the front passenger has more leg room than anyone short of an NBA center could need.
Our 2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6L Sport test car was more pleasing on a couple of key points. First, the seat leather was soft, smooth and befitting of a luxury car. Second, the dual power front sport seats offered seat bottom cushion tilt for greater comfort. The sport seats’ added bolstering isn’t intrusive for wider bodies, but we didn’t travel any twisty roads in this car, so we cannot attest to their ability to hold you tight for spirited driving.
Storage nooks and crannies are plentiful inside the 2006 Passat, though the glovebox gets space eaten up by the six-disc CD changer when the navigation system is ordered. The Passat features big door pockets front and rear, reconfigurable center console cupholders that can be converted into a storage area, bottle holders in the front doors, a huge cubby in the lower left dash panel, and twin storage trays in the dash – all lined with either felt or rubber. Additionally, there’s a felt-lined pen tray, a large storage bin under the center armrest, and a slick umbrella holder with a drain hole built into the front doors. Expanding the trunk is easy since the rear seat folds without removal of the headrests, and the new Passat includes bag hooks, a light bulb, storage dividers, and cargo netting in the 14.2 cubic-foot trunk.
As if this isn’t enough, Volkswagen offers a different kind of comfort – peace-of-mind – with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and four years of unlimited-mileage roadside assistance.
Driving Impressions The 2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6L Sport is great fun to drive and quite luxurious inside, but you won’t go wrong choosing the more mainstream 2.0T model which gets good gas mileage and offers capable performance.
Volkswagen offered us a one-day test drive in the 2006 Passat 2.0T and 3.6L, covering Boston city streets, Interstates 93 and 95, and country roads that wound through quintessential New England towns. There was no opportunity to drive the new Passat hard and fast on twisty roads.
We started the day in a Passat 2.0T equipped with just about every possible option, including the six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, for an as-tested price of $31,565. To start the 2006 Volkswagen Passat, take the key fob and insert it into the dash-mounted ignition slot. Push on the fob until the engine starts, and you’re good to go. When you’re ready to turn the Passat’s engine off, push the key fob again and it will automatically eject itself from the slot.
Exiting the labyrinthine streets of downtown Boston was easy thanks to the turbocharged four’s broad torque band, light steering, and smooth-shifting transmission, though we think the Passat could use larger side mirrors with a more rectangular shape for improved visibility. The 2.0T engine is peppy and responsive, without the peaky power delivery common to turbocharged engines.
Once we got onto the highway, the Passat 2.0T displayed its Autobahn-bred driving character, effortlessly cruising at better than 80 mph. However, wind noise is noticeable over 60 clicks and gets downright irritating at 85 or higher, and when the sunroof is peeled back the din is even worse – though we should note that the open roof doesn’t scoop air into the cabin. The 2006 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T rides firmly, but still retains the old model’s comfortable ride quality over most road surfaces. And when it comes to passing, the transmission is quick to kick down but the engine feels a bit breathless at highway velocities. It’s not slow, just not as quick as we expected.
On lumpy country roads, the Passat 2.0T’s suspension and stiff body structure did a terrific job of isolating the cabin from bumps and potholes, though larger ones did result in some jostling of passengers. Steering response is improved over last year, with crisper turn-in, excellent weighting, and decent road feel without lots of excess vibration coming through the column. Plus, the leather-wrapped tiller is a delight to grip. Furthermore, the Passat features a flatter cornering attitude than the old car, and the brake pedal features terrific feel and modulation.
For those interested in fuel economy, in the 2.0T we managed 27.1 mpg without trying, and even our stint in the Passat 3.6L resulted in a 23.4-mpg average. The main reason our fuel economy average in the V6 version was favorable is because we drove almost exclusively on freeways, with the exception of a 20-minute trip navigating downtown Boston’s myriad of pedestrian-clogged, one-way and dead-end streets trying to find our hotel.
The 2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6L is definitely a stronger motor and possesses a degree of powertrain refinement lacking in the 2.0T. We drove a model equipped with the Sport package, and the suspension is tighter, most noticeably on bumps and dips. On undulating pavement, the shocks feel a bit too stiff for the springs, resulting in disparity between what the wheels are doing and how the body is reacting, and the sport suspension communicates more about what is happening at the road surface, upsetting the ride quality on broken pavement. The Passat 3.6L Sport’s front seats were a huge improvement over the buckets in the 2.0T. First, they offered a wider range of adjustment, allowing for bottom cushion tilt to dial in just the right amount of thigh support. But the leather was also much better, featuring soft, supple hides that were significantly more luxurious than the low-rent leather in the 2.0T.
Despite our preference for the Passat 3.6L Sport, the fact is that our test car was outfitted and priced like a luxury car at more than $38,000, and there are plenty of excellent vehicles in that entry-luxury territory. Wisely, most Passats sold in the U.S. will come equipped with the 2.0T motor, and will sticker at less than $30,000 – right in the heart of the mainstream midsize marketplace. At this price, Volkswagen has a potential winner. The 2006 Passat is engaging to drive, roomy, and chock-full of safety and convenience features.
FAQs Volkswagen is planning to offer a Sport package and a DSG sequential manual transmission on the 2.0T, and a turbodiesel is in the works, too.
Why no DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) transmission? At the time that the 2006 Volkswagen Passat was being developed, engineers and product planners felt that the enthusiast-oriented DSG transmission was too aggressive for the projected Passat buyer. But now that DSG is a more refined transmission, Volkswagen expects that it will appear on the Passat for 2007 or 2008.
Why no TDI turbodiesel? When Volkswagen planned the powertrain lineup for the 2006 Volkswagen Passat, fuel prices were low and upcoming emissions standards for the U.S. were in flux. Volkswagen hopes to get a TDI engine certified for use in America soon, but for now plans are not certain for the turbodiesel.
Will there be a Sport package for the 2.0T? A Sport package will not be available on the 2.0T right away. But when Volkswagen introduces the DSG transmission, it is expected to be part of a Sport package with lowered suspension, stiffer shocks and springs, and larger wheels and tires.
Specifications Because the 2006 Volkswagen Passat is priced from the low 20s to the low 30s, it competes with a wide array of midsize family and entry luxury sedans from the Acura TSX and TL to the Toyota Avalon and Camry.
Test Vehicle: 2006 Volkswagen Passat
Price of Test Vehicle: $31,565 including $615 destination charge (2.0T); $38,315 including $615 destination charge (estimated for 3.6L)
Engine Size and Type: 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled inline four-cylinder (2.0T); 3.6-liter V6 (3.6L)
Engine Horsepower: 200 between 5,100 and 6,000 rpm (2.0T); 280 at 6,200 rpm (3.6L)
Engine Torque: 207 lb.-ft. between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm (2.0T); 265 at 2,750 rpm (3.6L)
Transmission: Six-speed manual (std. 2.0T); six-speed Tiptronic automatic (opt. 2.0T; std. 3.6L)
Curb weight, lbs.: 3,305 (2.0T manual); 3,576 (3.6L automatic)
EPA Fuel Economy (city/highway): 22/31 mpg (est. 2.0T); N/A (3.6L)
Observed Fuel Economy: 27.1 mpg (2.0T); 23.4 mpg (3.6L)
Length: 188.2 inches
Width: 71.7 inches
Wheelbase: 106.7 inches
Height: 58.0 inches
Leg room (front/rear): 41.4/37.7 inches
Head room (front/rear): 38.4/37.8 inches
Max. Seating Capacity: Five
Max. Cargo Volume: 14.2 cubic feet
Competitors: Acura TSX, Acura TL, Audi A4 2.0T, BMW 325i, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS 2.8, Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Infiniti G35, Jaguar X-Type, Kia Amanti, Lexus IS 250, Lincoln Zephyr, Mazda 6, MazdaSpeed 6, Mercedes-Benz C230, Mercury Milan, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Pontiac G6, Pontiac Grand Prix, Saab 9-2X, Saab 9-3, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry, Toyota Avalon, Volvo S40, Volvo S60
Photos courtesy of Volkswagen of America